CNC – Reconciliation: the need to listen and act
June 22, 2021
Dr. Dennis Johnson is the President and CEO of CNC.
Yesterday, we marked National Indigenous Peoples Day, My colleague Marlene Erickson noted it took place during a deeply reflective time.
Reflection should not be our only activity, nor confined to a single day.
I have thought a great deal about my role and responsibility with respect to reconciliation, particularly following the discovery of children’s remains at the former residential school on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation.
I don’t presume to have either the answers or the expertise. But I have some perspective on what we as a college may do together.
Corinne George, one of our colleagues and the Regional Principal of CNC’s Lake District Campus, recently noted, “A friend said the greatest gift you can give anyone is to listen.” As we developed our strategic plan, we heard a great deal about the need to ensure that plan reflected and made reconciliation a reality at CNC.
I also believe clear action matters in reconciliation. I am hopeful CNC’s strategic plan will help the college to take steps that Indigenize the college, but also reflect new ways of learning and the deeper relationships we must have with communities across the region we serve.
Within CNC, I believe we owe the people we serve the responsibility to fully educate ourselves about the legacy of residential schools as well as the truth and reconciliation process. Marlene’s and her colleagues’ recommendations on individual actions offer ways to do that.
Reconciliation and the success of Indigenous students at CNC do not rest with a single department or person at CNC. We must all contribute to that goal.
We can start by listening to the needs of communities and prospective students. We can develop programs and supports that help them excel. And we can do our utmost to live the new vision of the college:
- lhulh whuts’odutel’eh (we will learn together),
- lhk’enazdulkat (we change ourselves),
- ·nus ‘uztelelh (we will create the future).